It’s time for Mandy Shaw and Margaret Shields to take a bow – and receive a huge thank you from the Bishop of Durham.
The two women, who work for ROCSOLID supported housing charity which supports vulnerable people in Newton Aycliffe, Billingham and Stockton, received Certificates of Excellence from the Rt Rev Paul Butler during a Nepacs awards ceremony.
Nepacs, a regional charity which supports a positive future for prisoners and their families, had a record number of entries for its annual awards this year at Lumley Castle, Chester-le-Sreet.
“Thank you enormously for everything you do,” Bishop Butler told the awards recipients. “You don’t get thanked enough, or praised enough or get enough recognition so I am saying thank you to you today.”
Some of ROCSOLID’s clients are on probation while others have serviced prison sentences. The charity is based in Hope House, Burnhope, Newton Aycliffe and it offers accommodation in around 50 flats and houses.
Its newest venture is a residential base in Billingham, staffed 24/7, for women receiving professional help with drug and alcohol addictions and who are at risk of sexual exploitation.
ROCSOLID’s submission included the story of a woman who had served time for soliciting, robbery and supplying drugs.
“She moved into the house when she became pregnant and has worked hard to turn her life around,” said Mandy. “We supported her through the journey and continue to do so.”
Margaret, deputy manager of the Billingham House, said the woman has since moved into her own home but has ongoing support from the charity.
“She’s learned lots of parenting skills and has had the baby returned from the care of the local authority. And that’s got to be good news!”
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Pictured: Margaret Shields, Bishop Paul and Mandy Shaw